Metro-East News

Officials rezone vacant properties to allow for new development

Rendering of a Walmart Neighborhood Market in the design that will be built at 1101 Beltline Road after the old K-Mart building is demolished.
Rendering of a Walmart Neighborhood Market in the design that will be built at 1101 Beltline Road after the old K-Mart building is demolished. City of Collinsville

The vacant K-mart and Ponderosa restaurant properties will be rezoned to facilitate new development following City Council approval Monday night.

K-mart will be replaced by a Walmart Neighborhood Market, which includes a grocery store, gas station and pharmacy with drive thru, at the 11-acre site of 1101 Beltline Road.

Council members approved the rezoning application filed by Retail Place LLC on behalf of Walmart Real Estate Business Trust, which has proposed the development.

Resident Mary Drumm spoke out against the vote during the meeting. Drumm said she thought the location of the Walmart would take business away from nearby establishments, including the Schnucks grocery store at 501 Beltline Road and the Bucky’s Express gas station and convenience store at 1000 Beltline Road.

“I don’t want to see any of these businesses hurt,” she said. “Walmart’s a parasite; They eat away at other businesses.”

The 1.6-acre site of the former Ponderosa restaurant, 5 Eastport Plaza Drive, will also be rezoned to allow for the development of a Colton’s Steakhouse.

City Manager Mitch Bair called Colton’s a “destination steakhouse” for the area, which will include banquet space.

The City Council also approved the rezoning of the Collinsville Mini-Mart & Gas property, 601 West Main St., so that the aging gas station and convenience store can be renovated and expanded.

However, council members voted to table a redevelopment agreement with the Mini-Mart’s owner, who wants to make $1.3 million in improvements and is hoping for a $480,000 reimbursement from the city in the form of TIF money. Councilwoman Nancy Moss said she wants to see a breakdown of the costs before considering the agreement again.

Vote on proposed TIF district postponed

On Monday night, Collinsville leaders were scheduled to make a final decision on the plan to create a new tax increment financing district in the city, which drew at least 100 people to a public hearing earlier this month. But postings to the city’s social media hours before the start of the meeting indicated that the ordinances related to the TIF district would be considered at a later date.

Bair said the city will make sure council members have enough information about the proposed TIF during the delay.

“We didn’t want to rush it,” Bair said of the reason to postpone the vote.

Those who attended the June 13 hearing, which took place at the Gateway Center to accommodate a large crowd, asked questions, raised concerns and expressed support of the proposed plan for two hours.

The TIF district would include portions of St. Louis and Collinsville roads, from Fairmount Park Racetrack on the west to Jefferson Avenue on the east and along Bluff Road north to Interstate 55/70. The area includes commercial and residential properties, as well as schools, public utilities and parks.

Most of the residents who have publicly addressed the council are opposed to any new TIF in the city.

On the other hand, a majority of the taxing bodies that would be affected by the creation of the TIF, including the school district, came out in support of the plan in May, along with representatives from the chamber of commerce and some business owners.

Collinsville Unit 10 School District actually changed its stance on the plan after signing a memorandum of understanding with the city.

Creation of a TIF district would normally freeze property taxes for schools and other taxing bodies for 23 years, but Mayor John Miller signed the agreement stating that schools would get a percentage of the TIF’s revenue if the district is created.

Three City Council members have previously voted in favor of moves to create the district, including Miller, Councilwoman Cheryl Brombolich and Councilman Jeff Stehman.

Council members Moss and Jeff Kypta have not supported the creation of the TIF district in the past.

The council meets next on Monday, July 11.

Lexi Cortes: 618-239-2528, @lexicortes